. On September 26, the USA Senior National Team will begin play in the FIBA Americas Championship
being held in Valdivia, Chile. To say that a great deal is at stake for Team USA
in this tourney would be an understatement. Having failed to win the 2006 FIBA World Championship, Team USA
now has to qualify
for a berth in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing next summer. That's right, by coming up short
last September in Brazil, Team USA
now has to earn the right
to defend its 2004 Olympic Gold Medal!
The Team USA roster
for the FIBA tournament next week in Chile was finalized this afternoon, and includes the Mystics'
own DeLisha Milton-Jones
as well as DC-area natives Kara Lawson
and Rebekkah Brunson
If Team USA wins the FIBA tournament in Chile, they will automatically secure a spot in the Olympics. If not, then things get complicated. Assuming the team finishes no worse than fourth in Chile (and it would be, to say the least, a debacle for USA Basketball to finish worse than fourth), they would then have to play in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament
in June 2008 along with 11 other teams vying for the final 5 Olympic berths. It doesn't take an Albert Einstein
to figure out that a June 2008 tournament might just conflict with next year's WNBA season. As it is, some of the league's top foreign
players are considering skipping the WNBA to stay home and practice with their national teams. Losing some of the top American players wouldn't exactly make Donna Orender's
day. However, an Albert Einstein
might come in handy to help sort out how that qualifying tournament would work (USA Basketball's explanation is here
). So here's hoping that Team USA does itself and its fans a huge favor by just winning next week in Chile!TV Coverage:
Not planning a trip to Valdivia next week? Well, the BasketCases have some good news for you! According to a message board poster with a sharp eye on the NBAtv ticker, NBAtv is planning to televise Team USA's games
in the tournament! (Haven't we told our loyal readers repeatedly what a great deal NBAtv is!)
This news couldn't come at a better time . . . not only because it would be great to be able to see those games, but also because we are suffering from basketball withdrawal during this lull between the WNBA season and the college season. Let's hope this news is true!Go U-S-A!